.NET Sockets and Thread Starvation

So the brief was simple. Set up a few hundred test “customers” and blast a server with RESTful calls. Easy right?

Wrong. Two test customers were OK, but three customers failed. After a while it was tracked down to making the following call:

ServicePointManager.DefaultConnectionLimit = int.MaxValue;

.NET’s default is 2 which is way small. So problem solved – until we added more customers. At more than two requests per second we were getting timeouts on the server (which was using CometD). After a few days of pulling my hair out, I decided to embed .NET networking trace into my log4net logs which turns out to be fairly simple:

public class CustomTraceListener : TraceListener
 private static readonly log4net.ILog logger = log4net.LogManager.GetLogger(typeof(CustomTraceListener));

public CustomTraceListener()

public override void Write(string message)

public override void WriteLine(string message)

And in App.config:

 <source name="System.Net" tracemode="includehex" maxdatasize="1024">
 <add name="System.Net"/>
 <source name="System.Net.Cache">
 <add name="System.Net"/>
 <source name="System.Net.Http">
 <add name="System.Net"/>
 <source name="System.Net.Sockets">
 <add name="System.Net"/>
 <source name="System.Net.WebSockets">
 <add name="System.Net"/>
 <add name="System.Net" value="Verbose"/>
 <add name="System.Net.Cache" value="Verbose"/>
 <add name="System.Net.Http" value="Verbose"/>
 <add name="System.Net.Sockets" value="Verbose"/>
 <add name="System.Net.WebSockets" value="Verbose"/>
 <add name="System.Net"
 type="<namespace>.CustomTraceListener, <DLL/App name>"
 <trace autoflush="true"/>

Anyway after that I observed that there weren’t a lot of threads running, and BeginGetRequestStream() was taking a long time in some cases. So.. the fix:

 int minWorker, minIOC;
 ThreadPool.GetMinThreads(out minWorker, out minIOC);
 ThreadPool.SetMinThreads(100, minIOC);

And voila! Problem solved. .NET gives you an absolute minimum of threads!

Due to the fact we were using CometD which was blocking for each customer was consuming thread CPU. Requests were being delayed by up to 20 seconds so the server was sending a 402 invalid client error.

The weird thing was that there weren’t a lot of details about on the Net and the fix for it, so here it is ūüôā


Tech and My Training Wreck

With my up and coming trek to Nepal, I knew that losing a few excess kg’s was in order. So I got some tech to help me out.

The big question. Does it work?

The first thing I bought were some digital scales – Fitbit’s Aria seemed to fit a criteria:

  • Easy to use, just stand on them.
  • When a reading is done, it is automatically updated to a web server via WiFi.
  • Go to a browser and look at your success (and failures).

Here’s what it looks like:


It’s all very simple. The setup is interesting, you have to connect to the scales first via WiFi and program it. There are no actual buttons anywhere on the scales (probably for water proofing). You don’t need to Bluetooth to a phone which is even better.

The other thing I got a few weeks after getting the scales was a Fitbit Surge:


I’ve already written a little about this device here. It’s got a built in GPS so it tells me exactly where I’m been when I’ve been training. So how good are these things and do they make you lose weight?

Last month I walked, ran, cycled hundreds of kilometers and climbed over 6 km:


The month(s) before that I was achieving similar results.

After all this work I’ve¬†only lost 6 kg since mid-July (a period of just over 3 months):


That’s only 2 kg per month. I was hoping for much better than that. And every Mon/Tue I found myself trying to recover from whatever nice food (and alcohol!) I ate the previous week-end.

So it led me realize that exercising to lose weight is only part of the equation. In fact I would say only 20% – the rest is diet. And I hate dieting! Do I have to cut the wine intake? Sigh, the joys of being middle aged ūüė¶

My theory is that exercise makes your digestive system “more efficient”. Exercise only gets you so far. Don’t get me wrong, exercise has extraordinary benefits for your health – too many to list here. I’d definitely struggle while trekking if I didn’t.

One thing I did notice was a reduction in resting heart rate which occurred very quickly (only after a couple of weeks of training). It doesn’t really show it below, but my heart rate has gone from around 68 to below¬†60 bpm. Yes, I’m not 20 anymore…


I can do 10 sets of stairs at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs (Brisbane, Australia) in under 16 minutes now. I originally started with only doing 6 sets at a much slower pace.


You can wave your mouse over the charts at the bottom and see the cursor on the map move which is extremely clever.

So what do I think of all this? Does this tech make you lose weight?

The answer is no. These devices look at the past very well. They won’t help you with the future. You’ve just to sort that out yourself (and ditch the bad carbs).

What it did for me is to be more careful with my eating, especially on week-ends. But you have to admit the data from these things is amazing even if your results aren’t ūüôā

Tech on the Trek

What tech do you take with your trekking? The best advice I received was to listen to what 10 people have to say and ignore 9/10ths of it. So here’s some more stuff you can ignore. As it turns out, the most expensive and newest was not necessarily the best.

After many years I’ve finally got a pass from the wife to do some trekking in Nepal (Everest Base Camp + the Gokyo Lakes). I’m away for a few weeks and I’ve pondered what to take and what to leave.

I’m getting a bit older these days¬†and¬†I’ve got a porter to help me out, but I still need to lug a bunch of stuff around. At over 5000m, 10kg feels like¬†30kg so it becomes an important juggling act to what to take. I like my photography, I like my tech. I want it all.

I’ve spent hours troweling the blogs and with a few months of deliberation I’ve listed what I’ve chosen (and actually listened to some advice myself). If it helps out anyone with their choices, then great ūüôā

One key tidbit – I do expect to have charging issues. Batteries don’t work well in the cold and I’ve been told to sleep with my batteries to keep them warm. Awesome.

Smart Phone

An obvious one. When I went trekking 7 years ago in Nepal I had the original Android HTC Dream. Although cool at the time I had two major problems with it: no charging and no reception. It kinda bugged me that even the porters were using their phones without issues at the time. So these will be rectified hopefully!

The first is reception. I’ve worked out that Ncell has the best reception around EBC. I should expect 2G to 3G data rates in most locations with Edge or nothing¬†elsewhere, and¬†WiFi in many of the tea houses for a price.

I’ll get a prepaid service when I’m in Thamel, Kathmandu.¬†I’ll need to show my passport, give them a passport photo and apparently you can be up and going within a few minutes. This is cool.

I have a (now) old Sumsung S5 in which I’ve replaced the battery. It’s looking a little beat-up these days and probably will be a lot more when I’m done with it.

I’m using a Geo-Location app called “Real-Time GPS Tracker” and anyone can access your location via a URL¬†(not pointing to me just yet). A great way for your friends and family to track your travels. I’ll be turning it off when I’ve finished the trek. It will need GPS and reception, so it will use a bit of power. I’ll be¬†turning down the rate of updating down low enough so as not to discharge the phone battery too quickly.

I’ve also removed any apps that consume excess battery power, and I’ll probably shut down Bluetooth unless I need it.

Weight: 145g

Also Taking: charge cables, protective cover.

In the day pack: Yes.

After Trek Verdict: A no brainer even just to kill time. Most of the locals carry two phones Рa cheap Nokia which lasts for weeks on one charge and a smart phone.

I ended up getting my SIM card in Lukla – no passport photo was required at all. I had connectivity when a lot of trekkers didn’t.

The phone doesn’t work well above Namche Bazaar for connectivity. If it did work, it only worked at some points. I had to use teahouse wifi in many places – the reception is just that poor (Gorak Shep worked for a while at low speeds).

Just note: I burnt through 800MB within 3 or 4 days. I had to get a recharge at Namche Bazaar – it doesn’t last long!

The GPS tracker worked really well even without connectivity everywhere. It would just work it out when I did.

Online Blog

I had visions of updating my wife and family with daily updates of where I was with pictures and stories of the current events. I must admit it was an idea that was embedded with fantasy. A couple of camping trips away to try this out brought me back to reality:

  • Internet speed. Uploading a number of pictures and mucking around with an unresponsive blogging web page on a slow internet connection is a good way to ruin a nice evening. If I want my wife and family know what is going on, then I’ll pick up the phone and call them. Yes, there is a 4 hour time difference so I’ve just got to work with that.
  • Its a good way to burn battery power for a number of devices.
  • The internet around EBC is sufficient¬†to send a Facebook post¬†and to send simple emails, so this is my expectation.
  • Like I’m really going to feel like fine tuning a blog entry after several hours of hiking at 5000m. Just take some notes and chill sounds much better. And then sort that out when I’m back at home at sea level over a nice red ūüôā

So this had a big impact of what I was taking and what I was leaving behind.

After Trek Verdict: A good call. Don’t even bother.

Olympus OM-D EM1 Camera

This is one great camera. Small, compact and ridiculously powerful. It uses an 18mm sensor size (micro 4/3) rather than a full frame of 36mm. This results in much smaller (and cheaper) lenses Рimportant if you are on a weight budget.  It gives you the pro features for a great price and is a very underrated camera. Your basic Canon is over 1000g with battery and no lens.


Weight: 560g with battery and no lens.

Also taking:

  • 6 extra batteries, weight 270g.
  • USB battery charger. Charges via a USB rather than having to use the main power.

Not Taking: a camera bag, flash, cables, mains battery charger.

In the day pack: Yes. Hopefully attached to the day pack strap for easy access.

After Trek Verdict: A good call – it worked fine ūüôā

Camera Lens

I thought about this one for ages – to take the 12-40mm zoom or not? Or all my primes (I have the 12mm (f2.0), the 25mm (f1.8), the 45mm (f1.8) and the 75mm (f1.8). Multiply by 2 to get the equivalent full frame size (so the 25mm = 50mm)

These primes have great glass (see the¬†DXOMark¬†results) and it was hard to leave any of them behind. So I’ve decided in taking all¬†4 primes that I have. Less then 1kg for all of them and one of them is a telephoto (equivalent to 150mm).


Also taking:

  • Three polarizing filter lens (37mm, 46mm, 58mm).
  • Four hoods.
  • Lens cleaning kit

Not Taking: The 12-40mm zoom (380g)

Weight: 130g, 137g, 116g, 305g (in ascending focal length, without hoods) and probably just over 1kg including hoods, filters and cleaning kit.The 75mm lens is definitely the heaviest of the primes at double the weight of any of the others.

In the day pack:¬†Yes for most sections. I’m guessing I might not take all the lenses up some of the mountain visits.

After Trek Verdict: I had the lenses all in my bum bag. Changing lenses was straight forward.

Except when it dropped to -8 degrees in which case changing lenses became quite painful (fortunately only happened once).


Do you take a tripod? This was always going to be a yes. There are going to be lots of shots taken in the late afternoon and this is the best time of day when taking photos of things in the East (such as Mt Everest). Unfortunately it needs to be lugged up to any of the mountain viewing spots.

The hard questions was which one? I recently bought a very nice MeFoto Backpacker tripod to replace my old crappy one.

But it turns out my old $50 Slik 500g Deluxe tripod that I’ve had for 20 years is ridiculously light at 500g, and since I’ll be taking it up various mountains that weight becomes critical.¬†The tripod mount has lost the pad, but the Swiss Arca plate compensates for that. It’s also a little faster to set up.


Not Taking: The MeFoto Backpacker tripod which weighs over 1000g.

Weight: 500g, plus 100g for the Swiss Arca plate.

Cost: This tripod is less than $60 AUD. Bargain!

In the day pack: ¬†Only on selected hikes where I know I’ll be using it.

After Trek Verdict: A good call. It was very light and easy to take up on day trips up mountains. In saying that one of the feet fell off and I’ve had to buy another one.

Ricoh-Theta S 360¬į Camera

This one was a recent left-field purchase. I was thinking about a GoPro or similar, but this camera takes 360¬į photos with no stitching. And 360¬į movies as well! You can upload these 360¬į photos to Google Maps, Facebook, YouTube and to the Theta websites. It will add a lot more dimension to the pickies for sure. Here is one that I’ve already uploaded. And it is small and light.


It also means I’ll be taking my Jacko Royal walking pole. It has a camera mount at the top and a built in compass! This walking pole will act as a monopod – otherwise my hand will be a significant part of the shots.

Weight: 125g.

Cost: About $400AUD.

In the day pack:  Absolutely.

After Trek Verdict: This and my phone had to be on my bum bag and my walking pole had to be accessible. Once I had that sorted out it was straight forward to use (I used the walking pole as a monopod).

Portable Power Bank

Not all the teahouses will have charging available, so you’ve got to be able to go for a few days without charging.

I got the largest one I could get without hopefully upsetting airport security which are clamping down on chargers. I’ve had one taken from me when I left Beijing Airport earlier this year and it was an expensive battery. The limit is 100WHr and the one I’ve got works out to be 75WHr (20100 * 3.7). There are bigger 26800mAHr models that sit just under the 100WHr threshold, but I didn’t want to risk it. You also have to take it on the plane as carry-on – don’t put it in your luggage.

It’s the Anker PowerCore 20100 with 2 standard USB outputs and a micro USB input. Unfortunately it can only be charged at standard 2.1A rates so it can take some time to charge (the USB-C models can be charged much quicker but I don’t use USB-C yet). It’s relatively heavy and something I won’t be taking in my day pack.


I think the plan will be to charge this up when I get to the tea house and maybe hang two devices off it while charging (it can be charged while charging).

Weight: 250g

Also taking: A mains plug with a USB socket.

In the day pack: ¬†No. Unless I feel the need for some solar charging but that’s unlikely.

Cost: About $100AUD.

After Trek Verdict: Great. My smart watch needed the extra charging power – the solar panel wasn’t enough, so this was needed. And anytime I used my smart phone too much it came in very handy.

It was possibly oversized for this trip – I had good weather most of the time. But I imagine if the weather was bad for a week, this sized power bank would have been very useful.

Solar Panel Charger

Some info I’ve got from the blogs is the use of a solar panel charger. Charging your tech isn’t possible everywhere at all times (there is a lot of solar power used by the teahouses, so daytime charging only). And it can be expensive at 1USD per hour.¬†I’ve got a Suaoki 20W Solar¬†Panel.


This is mounted on the back of my day pack using some caribenas. It has two USB outputs which are apparently rated at a total of 3.5A. Will you ever see this? No.

I’ve done testing in the middle of a fine day and seen around 1.6A out of it. I’ll also be travelling in November with short days in glacial valleys with sporadic weather. So I have rather low expectations here. It’s also a bit on the heavy side, so we’ll see how this goes.

Weight: 480g

In the day pack: ¬†Yes. Unless its a crappy day, then I’ll probably ditch it.

Cost: About $65AUD.

After Trek Verdict: Essential¬†– I didn’t pay for charging once. In fact I was charging my guide’s and porter’s phones in many¬†locations. On a good day I was charging everything my 3pm.

One annoying issue – my phone would activate every time charging began and beep (i.e. turning around into the sun and then away from it). I eventually turned my phone off as this was quite annoying and was using power for no reason.

Bluetooth Keyboard

I got this tidbit from my research, and was part of my vision of daily blogging. Even though this is no longer the case, having a keyboard with a mouse is really useful. I hate using phone screens for typing.

So I picked up a small Bluetooth keyboard with a mouse pad and seems to work brilliantly. Sure beats the hell out of typing with your phone.


Weight: 270g without battery.

In the day pack:  No.

Cost: < $50AUD

After Trek Verdict: Turned out to be a bit of a hit with the locals – they’d never seen one before. Even local kids would come up and take a look.

Really useful for writing emails without having to use a smart phone screen and I used it every day. I’d take it again.


I picked up the Fitbit Surge as part of my training. This is after not wearing a watch for 20 years so this was a big call for me.

The data you get from these things is incredible. I don’t really care about how many steps for flights of stairs I’ve done and I probably won’t care when I’m hiking. I did think it could track my daily hikes (do I really want to know that I’ve done 300 flights of stairs today?). The Surge has a built in GPS but it doesn’t really like being turned on for 6 hour hikes. So I might just use this thing as a watch and alarm (the vibrate thing is pretty cool if you don’t want to wake everyone up).

Hopefully this is something I don’t have to charge too often. I might turn it on for a few hikes just to check it out.


Here’s an example of a hike I did for my training:


My sleeping heart rate at 4000 to 5000m has got me curious…

Weight: trivial

After Trek Verdict: Not really useful as such. Except to show that I walked up thousands of “floors”.

And yes, my heart rate jumped from 50 something to 70 something at altitude.

Digital Thermometer

Just a small thermometer just to find out why I feel so goddamn cold. And the thermocouple is external so I can possibly throw it out the window and take a look without having to go outside…



In the day pack: ¬†No. Unless I want to know how frozen I am during the day…

After Trek Verdict: Not really useful except to show that it hit -9 degrees C during the night (although it was possibly colder is some places where I didn’t care to look).

Digital Scales

No, not to check whether I’ve lot some puppy fat going up some mountain. A small handheld thing to check what my day pack weighs.

Not 100% sure about the wisdom here, but they are so small and you can see it here:


In the day pack:  No.

Weight: trivial

After Trek Verdict: Not really useful. We used it at the start of the trip to measure the weight of the pack (which had the porter’s stuff and a bag of fruit) at 16.5kgs. But I just didn’t use it after that.

USB Drives (and other stuff)

Odds and sods to do backups etc. I haven’t quite gone as far to bring my 2TB USB drive. Just enough to back up some photos etc.

  • uUSB to USB/SD Connector
  • 32GB USB drive, 2 8GB USB drives
  • 32GB SD Card
  • SD to uSD Connector


In the day pack:  No.

Weight: trivial

After Trek Verdict: Yes – I did my camera backups using these.

Camera Clip

Taking a DSLR camera can be a pain if you’ve got to go into your bag and retrieve it all the time. Or to have it hanging around your neck. So I picked up one of these Peak Design Capture Clips¬†that you just attach to your pack and the camera just sits there attached to the front of your pack for easy access. The clip¬†relies on¬†a Swiss Arca plate, so the camera has this attached to it.


When you want to take a photo, just hit the red button and the camera releases. And then just put it back when you are done.

This could be interesting as it is a bit of a pain when taking off the pack as you’ve got to 1) undo the chest and waist straps of the day pack 2) Unclip the camera 3) Take of the pack while the camera is around your neck 4) Put the camera down.

I can use my bum bag (see below) so we’ll see how this goes.

In the day pack:  Yes.

Weight: 110g

After Trek Verdict: Invaluable. It was so easy to take a shot and move on. Those guides/porters want to keep moving.

I should have just bought the non-pro version as I don’t use Manfrotto mounts.

Day Pack

I wanted a day pack to protect the tech, so I chose the large Crumpler Karachi Outpost. This really does have a lot of space (31L), multiple compartments, and spot for a tablet or small laptop. The great thing about it is that you can place it on a¬†muddy surface and access everything from the back. It is probably the best outdoor pack you can get for holding your tech. Having played with it a bit, I think it really is a bit too large. When I put it on it almost looks like a regular backpack. The problem is that it weighs over 2kgs without anything in it. However if you have a lot of gear including a laptop, then this is the ideal choice (which maybe isn’t for me at this time).


You can adjust all the compartments but I’ve just put in some small ones as I don’t have large telephotos etc. In hindsight I probably should have gone for the small Crumpler Karachi Outpost¬†which has a bit less space (25L) but is half a kilo lighter.

My regular crappy day pack is only 700g and is just soooo much lighter. So I’ve abandoned the very nice Crumpler in favour of the light crappy day pack (only $50). Here’s shot of it and you can get it here:


Apparently it fits more than the Crumpler! I’ll take the Crumpler’s weather protection bag and use it for bad weather. There is no chest strap – that might be an issue. I’ve bought a bum bag (see below) to compensate.

Weight: 700g

Not Taking: My heavy Crumpler day pack.

After Trek Verdict: A good call, although the weight of the camera on the shoulder strap meant that a chest strap would have been useful.

Bum Bag

A late purchase based on the day pack I’m using and getting easy access to camera/lenses. After a friend’s suggestion on something similar, I chose the Caribee Road Runner Bumbag:


It is available here. Here’s a shot of it with the zippers opened up:


It has so many things I can get quick access to, including my 360¬į camera. I’ll look like such a tourist, but whatever…

After Trek Verdict: Invaluable to have had my phone, 360 degree camera and lenses all there to use. Plus a bit of cash in the front zipper so I didn’t have to carry my wallet.

Sometimes the guide/porter had my day pack so I’d shove my camera into the bum bag.

I had to get the side pockets sewn in as they are just held together by velcro which was quite useless.

Travel Clothes Line

Not really tech, but just cool. I got this advice from years of travel. They are just cool. And simple – no pegs required. You can see it here.


Weight: trivial

After Trek Verdict: When you don’t have clean clothes for two weeks, this is real useful (you will probably have to use for two days in a row as there is no way stuff dries when it is so cold).

Stuff I’m Not Taking

There was a bunch of stuff I have and considered taking with me. But sometimes you’ve got to leave some of this crap at home (which could be said for anything on the list above!).

Tablets and Laptops

I seriously considered the Samsung Galaxy tablet I have for blogging on the trek. But it’s more stuff to carry and just couldn’t really justify it. And the laptop I have is just too big and can’t be bothered.

After Trek Verdict: Don’t bother.


Sigh ūüė¶ Next time. Maybe.

4G Dongle/Antenna

I have a few of these but the main one is the Huwei E8278. It supports WiFi from 5 devices while powered from a USB port. It was locked to the Telstra network but I’ve managed to unlock it so I could use the local Nepal network if I had to. It’s main feature is that it allows an external antenna.

I had a vision of using the 4G dongle and connecting my phone and tablet to it for my data connection (and have my phone for voice only). But this was just over complicating things.

The antenna gives another couple of bars of gain.This is perfect if you are in a remote location and need some gain to get that reception.


In areas of poor reception I was going to throw the antenna out the window and see what reception I could get (regardless of the fact that there are possibly kilometers of rock between me and the base station). And I was going to need another Nepal SIM card.

But since I abandoned the idea of blogging it just didn’t become necessary.

After Trek Verdict: Don’t bother thinking about it.

USB Detector

As must as I love what my gear is doing, I can’t justify taking the USB detector that I used to work out how the solar panel was working out. I’d try all different angles and times of day to see what I could get out of the solar panel, but the most I could get was around 1.6A and 5V (which works out to be around 8W –¬†much less than the 20W that was claimed).

Oh and of course when it is inside the charger you can’t read it. So you need a small USB Male to Female adapter cable.


If I brought it I’d just spend too much time looking at it…

Note: I think I’m gonna take it after all…

After Trek Verdict: Leave it at home.

Laptop Battery Ripoff by Manufacturers

Well, it now appears my $2000 laptop has a faulty battery. I don’t even get one hour out of it now, making it useless for taking it “off site”.

If you buy an Apple product you probably know that to get a new battery¬†you have to take it to an Apple service center so you have to pay for the battery + the service + freight = super high cost. And if you are an Apple customer you know this because with Apple, you always have to pay. Which is why I don’t buy Apple products (OK, I crumbled and my daughter has an iPod Touch).

But I did not expect a manufacturer which probably isn’t in the top 3 producers of non-Apple laptops to expect me to do the same.

Yes, Gigabyte, that’s you. Shame on you. Grrrrr.

It’s a shame – I quite like my Gigabyte P35K, it’s a zippy little machine and it does exactly what I want. But now¬†I won’t be buying from Gigabyte again. You’ve become Apple.

Edit: Well, surprisingly Gigabyte have come back to me to offer me a new battery. $137 later and I’ve installed it with success. So now I have spent $300 on a “super battery” + this new battery. Oh well, now I’m fully charged!

My faith in humanity has been restored (at least for today).

My First 40″ 4K Monitor

My main monitor in my set of 3 monitors that I normally use was playing up and I was getting fed up with it. So it was a needless excuse to go and check was out on the market. So a quick bit of research showed a¬†Philips BDM4065UC 40″ 4K UHD Monitor going for just over $1000AUD.

I did the usual research and most reviews put the main negative as “it’s too big”. No way. After having used it for a couple of days it took me around 30 secs to get used it. My eyesight is no longer as it was in my glory days and this is a beautiful piece of kit. One negative is the stand isn’t adjustable but that hasn’t worried me either. This is all running off a Haswell GPU at 30fps. Anyway, decide for yourself:

My new monitor

A 100x Network Improvement with Xen and a Windows 7 VM

I had to transfer a 120GB file on our intranet recently from a Windows 7 VM running on a Xen hypervisor to a network drive. Imagine my horror to see that it was going to take over 6000 minutes to complete!  A quick calculation told me this was going to take over 4 days Рnot cool at all.

Other colleagues in the office seem to have had no trouble in the past so it had to be something wrong with my virtual machine running on a Xen Hypervisor.

After trying a few things I found this thread: http://serverfault.com/questions/378722/windows-server-2008-network-speed-slow-xen-3-4-3-hvm-iso.

I was already using the latest guest drivers for it, so that wasn’t the issue. So I then tried:

  • netsh int tcp set global chimney=disabled
  • netsh int tcp set global rss=disabled
  • netsh int tcp set global netdma=disabled
  • netsh interface tcp set global autotuning=disabled

This then gave the following:


I also disabled anything that said “offlload” in the driver settings:


A quick reboot and my transfer went from over 6000 minutes to under 60 mins. A significant improvement ūüôā

I’m not sure what the exact setting fixed it, but it’s good enough for me…

Home Network Surveillance Cameras

I have a great Synology DS415+ NAS box that I’m extremely happy with. Just plug in your drives and a few mins you’ve got a very capable NAS device without much work. All my music, photos, videos and files are now in a central RAID-5 system. Plus 100s of features I could go on about. And smartphone apps to control it all. But what got my attention was its inbuilt surveillance software that I just had to try. The Synology Surveillance software is really good – it supports a large number of cameras, the ability to configure those cameras, the ability to put all of the cameras together in a live view and a time recorder which shows which cameras are active at which time. And of course easy access to the individual recordings. My own personal requirements were as follows:

  • Not to be tied to a particular make/model Each camera can be the best “fit for purpose”.
  • All cameras hardwired with PoE. Wireless isn’t as secure and it was just easier from a cabling perspective to get it all in a single cable.
  • Significant control from a single software point – not fragmented across several layers.
  • HD resolution or better
  • Audio in on at least one of the cameras.
  • A cost that wouldn’t destroy the credit card

Initially I considered using indoor cameras as outdoor cameras as they were cheaper but the research show that apart from rain the main problem is if the sun directly shines on the lens it drastically¬†shortens their life (most outdoor cameras have hoods). The other big¬†issue is a small focal length designed for focusing objects around 2m away. A switch that supports PoE was required so I got the¬†TP-LINK TL-SG1008P 8-port switch which has 4 of its ports dedicated PoE. The first camera I tried was¬†an indoor D-Link DCS-6004L.¬†It has a ton of features which I probably won’t use such as two way audio and an SD slot. The biggest problem was a partner who felt uncomfortable with a camera in the house (best to double check before you do this!). A few weeks later I had the other 3 cameras and two extra Synology licenses which were required. 4 cameras and 3 different brands. Here’s a quick summary:

Model Resolution Focal Length Audio Data Sheet
D-Link DCS-6004L 1200×800 f:2.8mm Yes specs
Foscam F19805E 1280×960 f:4mm Yes specs
Dahau IPC-HFW4300S-V2 2048×1536 f:8mm No specs

Here’s are some screenshots. You can click on image to see the full resolution. Firstly all four cameras in Synology’s live view: Synology2pm The following shots were taken from each of the manufacturers browser display. I believe I’m using default settings for most the cameras. I’ve put a book that says “Peppa’s Amazing Tales” in the shots to check the resolution. The book is 10m away in this shot on top of the car roof. Driveway-PeppaPigAway The front Foscam has some early afternoon shadows to deal with here. The book is about 6m away. Pool2pm The rear Foscam has heavy shadowing. The book is around 5m away.BackYard2pm I opened up the cabinet door to give the D-link a fair chance with the book around 4m away.Lounge2pm And a night-time shot via the Synology (the cabinet door is shut so you can see reflections): NighttimeSo my own opinions/observations with the experience:

  • I was probably asking too much to be able to read what was on the book cover. Looking at someone’s features in detail is difficult¬†unless they are close (maybe ask the bad guys to step towards the¬†camera for a close-up).
  • All these cameras are ridiculously powerful – full web servers with a complete TCP/IP stack as you would expect with embedded Linux.
  • The Dahua camera was the hardest to set up. It came with a fixed IP address of which was hidden from my PC. It came with no manual and a small page written in Chinese. After Googling I had to change my PC’s address to match the subnet, connect to the camera, and then change the IP address setting on the Dahua to use DHCP. It also had a bug in it where if I set the camera name the entire page went to Chinese (a¬†reboot fixed it up) and caused a bit of stress at the time. For some reason my live feed to¬†the Synology is using the low resolution feed I use for mobiles which is different to the other cameras (which means dropping the resolution of the live feed and increasing the resolution to the mobile).
  • The Foscam camera’s have an exposed rear cable which can be cut. However this makes them super easy to install as you don’t have to feed cables through bricks and narrow cavities. The cable just goes straight to the eaves and into the roof.
  • Each outdoor camera claims over 30m range at night but that is more like 10m or less.
  • I’ve got an annoying regular disconnection on the Dahua. I can’t yet blame the cable or the camera here. The CAT 6 cable is 20m long and it may be too long for the PoE.
  • I hate my roof. It has glass insulation bats which suck and is low pitch. And it’s bloody hot.
  • The Synology Surveillance software was brilliant and by far the best part of the experience.

So what have I learnt for the future:

  • The software is great at the moment. You get to show your friends the¬†cool bits of your house by shoving¬†your phone at them and saying “check this out!”.
  • You get what you pay for. The cheaper the camera, the more disappointed you’ll be.
  • I’d like to see what the professional $1000+ cameras are like but I think I’ll wait a few¬†years and upgrade when the cameras have built in mechanical zoom and audio mics. And hopefully better lenses.